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Prerelease:Super Smash Bros. Melee

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This page details prerelease information and/or media for Super Smash Bros. Melee.

To do:
  • Investigate the Nintendo debugging tape. If these bugs don't appear in the final game, document it here. Some other differences from the final includes new Zelda portraits (documented below), slightly smaller text in the menus, the word "smash" being in lowercase in the menus rather than capitalized like in the final, etc. Document all of that here and see if there's any other beta stuff. (timestamp 1), (timestamp 2).
  • This page needs to be overhauled. Sort the sections by game elements instead of by video and images (UI, Characters, Stages, Modes, etc.) rather than separate sections for each video. Use the videos and images as the sources for the pictures and information. Some of the formatting in general is also incorrect, and some of the images don't have a source.

Development Timeline




  • May 17-19 - The game was shown off at E3 2001.
  • Nov. 21 - Super Smash Bros. Melee was released in Japan.
  • Dec. 2 - Super Smash Bros. Melee was released in America.


  • May 24 - Super Smash Bros. Melee was released in Europe.

Early Development

Scrapped Concepts

Cut Characters

Like its N64 sibling, the rapidly growing fanbase surrounding Melee generated a large amount of rumors regarding cut characters, something only exacerbated by the "clone" characters included in the game. An interview with Sakurai from a 2002 issue of Famitsu, as well as comments written by him on the game's Japanese website, reveal a large amount of information on the character selection process. This includes that clone characters were not initially a planned inclusion, and were made much later in development to beef up the roster. However, these write-ups also provide the following information regarding several cut characters and why they were omitted:

  • Four other retro characters - Before the Ice Climbers were ultimately selected to be the "retro representative" characters, Sakurai stated that Balloon Fighter, Urban Champion, Bubbles from Clu Clu Land and an Excitebike racer were all considered for the 'retro representative.' Due to their own problems, the Ice Climbers were used instead. Bubbles, the Balloon Fighter, and the Excitebike racer would still be included in Melee, but only as collectable trophies.
  • Ayumi Tachibana - According to Sakurai in a NicoNico livestream, Ayumi Tachibana from the Famicom Detective Club games was considered, but was rejected due to lack of familiarity in the West. Tachibana would still be included in Melee as a collectable trophy. [1]
  • Lucas - Ness was meant to be scrapped as a playable character and replaced by Lucas, the protagonist of Mother 3. However, the multiple delays of Mother 3 as Melee's development began, Ness returned instead. Lucas latered joined the roster him in Super Smash Bros. Brawl upon Mother 3's eventual release in 2006. [2]
  • Solid Snake - Reportedly, Hideo Kojima (at his son's request) called up Masahiro Sakurai and asked if Solid Snake could be included in Melee. However, the game was too far in development to add another character so the addition was not possible. [3]
  • Sonic the Hedgehog - Like with Snake, Yuji Naka suggested the idea of including Sonic the Hedgehog in Melee to Masahiro Sakurai. However, Sonic was excluded due to time constraints. Both Snake and Sonic would be added to the series in the next game, becoming the first Third-party additions in the series' history.
  • Wario - Wario was strongly considered for Melee's roster, but was ultimately not added as Sakurai did not want too many Mario characters.[4] However, Sakurai did state on the Japanese website that if he could choose one more character to include in the roster, he would have chosen Wario.[5] True to Sakurai's word, Wario ended up being the first newcomer numbered in Brawl's internal order.

Other Characters

Sakuari would answer some questions on both official Japanese websites for the this game and its predecessor, His comments here imply that most, if not all of the following characters were not seriously considered for Melee.

  • Banjo and Kazooie - Sakuari stated including characters from Rare would be difficult, presumably for reasons listed below under the 'Other Scrapped Content' section.

. Outside of a scrapped trophy for this game, They would eventually be added to the series as DLC in Ultimate.[6]

  • James Bond - When asked about the possible inclusion of James Bond, Sakurai stated this wasn't very likely due to multiple reasons such as acquiring the full licensing rights and concerns with the realistic weaponry. [7]
  • Mach Rider - When asked what character he would want to see in a then-hypothetical Super Smash Bros. sequel, Sakurai listed the title character of Mach Rider, citing their name as the main reason. Mach Rider would appear as an trophy in the final game.[8]
  • Takamaru - A fan asked Sakurai about including Takamaru from The Mysterious Murasame Castle, to which Sakurai asked the fan what was more likely: The Mysterious Murasame Castle getting a sequel or Takamaru appearing in Smash, which he concluded was equally unlikely. Takamaru did not appear in the series until the 3DS/Wii U installments as an Assist Trophy. [9]
(Source: Source Gaming, https://www.ssbwiki.com/Unused_content_(SSBM) SmashWiki)

Other Scrapped Content

  • Sukapon (from Joy Mecha Fight) was planned to be an item in Melee, but was cut. For a short time, the bonus information related to Sukapon was accidentally posted on Melee's website. Players would have been able to ride Sukapon, and attack the other players. Eventually, Sukapon did become an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
(Source: Source Gaming)
  • An early rendition of the theme for the Temple stage exists on the game's official website, labelled as "shrin_botsu." Melee composer Shogo Sakai stated that he used the dungeons from the original Legend of Zelda - the eeriness and ethereal nature of which he compared to the famous "Yotsuya Kaidan" tale - as a reference for the tone of his original composition. the theme would later be replaced by a more dynamic remix of Zelda II's Palace theme in the final game.
(Source: Smabura-Ken Developer Interviews)
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee was originally going to feature the "8-Player Smash" mode for this game. However, due to technical performance, Sakurai stated "it was more than impossible." Two games and 13 years later, the mode was added to the game series.
  • More Fire Emblem trophies were supposed to be included, however they were cut due to being more complex to make than other trophies in the game [10]
  • Trophies from games by Rare were in the game at some point, but removed because it was difficult for them to be approved due to Rare being based in England and Melee's tight development. The only characters ever confirmed to have appeared as trophies were Banjo & Kazooie and Joanna Dark from Perfect Dark [11]



E3 2001

Trailer #1

  • As with many early Smash Bros. trailers, the sound effects are rather basic compared to what we get in the final release.
  • The game's physics act almost nothing like those seen in the final product, with many moves seeming to chain into each other in ways not even remotely possible in the final game. This is most noticeable with Peach, Samus & Captain Falcon's combo montages, but is present throughout the trailer.
  • The top of Cranky Kong's house in Jungle Japes has a different texture, almost appearing as if the platform itself is untextured.
  • Adventure mode's version of Mushroom Kingdom has a different layout, more rocky textures for the columns, and a tree.
  • Peach is seen walking out of bounds in Onett, implying it was once bigger. Yoshi & Captain Falcon also appear to have a scrap in this area as well.
  • There is an extra platform in Temple, which appears to be connected to one of the higher level platforms via a rope.
  • Yoshi's Story has a different layout, with a very out of place blue platform at the stage left. There are also decoratory ornaments, wooden circles and the like in the background, which would later be removed. It's unknown whether these assets were connected. Additionally, Yoshi's shadow can be seen on the sky, indicating that it is much closer to the foreground.
  • Yoshi's Island has 5 extra blocks and contains a much steeper hill on the right side. The dark hills in the background are closer to being violet than blue, and the sky is much brighter.
  • Multiple characters appear on-screen together with the same color palette (notably 4 Kirbys, Ness' and Foxs in their montages), although this may be via the debug controls.
  • Kirby's down throw attack is much slower than in the final game.
  • Pokémon Stadium has a blank screen.
  • Great Bay seems to have originally included the Laboratory setting as part of the level, with Ness being seen exiting from it. This feature is totally absent in the final release.
  • Corneria seems to include more generic building structures in the background.
  • Fox's Blaster is very noticeably slower, acting more like it does in the original Super Smash Bros.. It also makes a different sound effect.
  • Fourside has much less colorful textures, particularly notable with the buildings, which are all grey as opposed to multicolored.
  • The Falcon Punch comes out much faster, as it did in the original Super Smash Bros.
  • Captain Falcon's down throw sends Samus straight to the floor as opposed to bouncing her upwards.
  • Mute City contains a very out of place boost-pad which doesn't appear in that location in the final game. The rest area pods on the roadside also lack the pink shade.
  • Sheik's Chain appears to be able to negate most sorts of projectiles, something which would have perhaps been too overpowered.
  • Both Samus and Ice Climbers are seen fighting in Adventure Mushroom Kingdom, which is a single-player only stage.

Trailer #2

  • The main menu says "Top Menu".
  • Options, Data and Special Melee are obscured with question marks.
  • The menu select sound appears to play at a higher pitch.
  • Rainbow Cruise is completely different, in terms of design, layout and textures.
  • The trophy lottery has a much more elaborate background, including a casino board and a ship. It's also shown from an angle as opposed to straight on, and contains a different HUD than that depicted in the final product.
  • The Goomba trophy differs slightly.

Footage Reel

  • Mario has rougher animations.
  • Entei doesn't have a fire pillar, he just catches on fire.
  • When Pikachu picks up the crate, it directly warps in front of him.
  • Corneria has a darker sky with Arwings flying in the background.
  • Players don't flash when they use the home run bat.
  • The flipper item is a 2D texture.
  • Peach's dress isn't fully animated so it clips through her at times.
  • The Yoshi's Island stage has note blocks.
  • Onett's clouds jump in animation sometimes.
  • Green Greens is completely different and Whispy Woods constantly blows to the left multiple times.
  • Fourside's UFO is different.
  • Kongo Jungle has a faster stream.

IGN Gameplay


  • The early version of Yoshi's Story is clearly seen.
  • The differences with Mute City documented above still apply here.
  • Mushroom Kingdom looks almost totally different: the style of brick is more primitive, the background is zoomed in closer than what we see in the final version, the colors are much brighter overall, the bricks directly below the warp pipe aren't seen at all and the warp pipes themselves seem to be integrated into the stage akin to the N64 version of the stage.



  • The Great Bay lab is in the foreground. Mario and Link can be seen standing on and going inside the lab, showing that it was once part of the stage.
  • The top platform which houses the Laboratory in this clip has some rather odd collision compared to the final version, where Mario almost appears to be standing in front of the platform at one stage.
  • There is a pot object which isn't normally present on the stage.



An early level layout for the Adventure variant of Mushroom Kingdom, although there are only minor differences:

  • There are signs with the castle on it.
  • The trees present in the All-Star rest area are placed here, although it's unknown whether it was meant for this level or whether it was a placeholder.


Brinstar Escape

  • Samus simply drops in as opposed to spawning via the usual platform, and spawns facing the opposite direction.
  • The blue door next to Samus at the start strangely has more detailed texturing than the one included in the final product.
  • Samus' grounded jump sound is much simpler.
  • The message in the background reads "GO AHEAD". In the final game, the message is altered to "Code Red!"
  • The arrow which accompanies the "GO AHEAD" message alternates between flashing and fading out, though it remains totally static in the final game.
  • There is a "Coming Soon" screen, which also includes a fanfare not included in the game at all.


  • EagleLand is split into 2 words for no explainable reason.
  • Just like in the Escape video, the characters drop in with no spawning platforms.
  • The stage selection screen has a different layout, similar to how the N64 game's stage select was laid out.
  • Onett has a completely different remix of "Bein' Friends", which sounds similar to the version used in-game, but with different instruments.

Nintendo World Report Footage

  • Similar to the Onett footage above but much longer, allowing for a better listen to the different music.


Early Special Movie

This version of the Special Movie was included on the Japan-only Pikmin Jitsuen-you Demo Disc in 2001 prior to Melee's release. There are a few shots in this version that are not present or are arranged differently in the final version. Most notably, this version does not feature any gameplay of Zelda and instead features a splash screen and section for Sheik.

  • Pikachu has a faster, more jittery, and less polished taunt animation.
  • Icicle Mountian features floating ice blocks arranged in a diamond-like shape.

Early Intro Cinematic

An early variation of the game's iconic intro can be found on its Japanese website, with a few minor differences to the final cinematic, almost all of which pertain to the gameplay clips featured.

  • The camera angles used during the gameplay snippets are all slightly different.
  • Captain Falcon uses his neutral combo on Corneria as opposed to Mute City.
  • Samus and Fox appear on Fountain of Dreams as opposed to Brinstar. Additionally, Fox's Blaster Fire is noticeably slower, akin to the game's initial E3 reveal.
  • Kirby is seen strolling through Adventure Mode's Mushroom Kingdom - he's frolicking through the All-Star Rest Area in the cinematic seen in-game.
  • The clip showcasing Peach and the Ice Climbers is almost identical to the final game, with one difference - the Ice Climbers are moving much more slowly in comparison.
  • Pikachu is seen running in Pokémon Stadium - while thematically appropriate, he runs in Adventure Mode's Mushroom Kingdom in the final intro.
  • Yoshi is strolling aimlessly in Yoshi's Story here - he uses his grab in the intro.
  • Instead of Zelda using Dins Fire, Sheik is seen here instead, using Needle Storm in a clip also used during the initial E3 reveal.
  • Link is seen using his forward smash, rather than using Spin Attack towards the camera.
  • The section with Link mentioned above additionally shows the extra platform in Temple, which would later be removed from the game.
  • Dean Harrington's emphatic title announcement is missing.

Special Movie

Replaced in the European release of the game with four additional languages, the "Special Movie" is essentially a quirky showcase of all the characters available at the start of the game, showing off their abilities and placing them in wacky comical scenarios that, like the series, pay homage to traits for which they're known. Strangely, a lot of the material present in it differs hugely from what can be accessed in the game!

Retail Special Movie

This version of the Special Movie is present within all NTSC releases of the game.

  • Sound effects still differ from the final release.
  • The additional platform from Hyrule Temple mentioned above appears at multiple points in this cinematic.
  • The Mario Tornado acts more like it does in the N64 game, trapping opponents in for a longer time and connecting more frequently.
  • A fanfare which doesn't exist in the final version in any capacity plays during the intervals.
  • Link's Bow special move does not glow upon being fully charged.
  • Captain Falcon's taunt animation isn't as smooth as it would eventually become.
  • Two unused voice-overs for Peach (saying "Yahoo!" and "All right!") can be heard. She appears to be voiced by Asako Kozuki (for the "Yahoo!") and Leslie Swan (for the "All right!") here instead of Jen Taylor.
    • Both voice overs are taken from both the Japanese and International versions of Mario Kart 64.
  • Knocking Goombas away causes a screen shake effect during the Adventure showcase, which doesn't happen in-game.
  • Bowser's Classic render, while exactly the same, was positioned more to the back, and so appears smaller.
  • Brief parts of the movie appear to show a very early incarnation of Brinstar Depths, which aside from the lava at the bottom is almost unrecognizable, with completely different textures and stage details players never get to see in the final version.
  • Pikachu is silent while charging Skull Bash.
  • Stock icons for the alternate character colors weren't implemented yet, as all 4 Ice Climbers use the default palette.
  • Electrode doesn't change color to indicate it self-destructing, 11:20.
  • Kirby's Vulcan Jab A combo doesn't feature the small projectiles in front of his hands.
  • An unused shout from Popo can be heard during the montage at the end.
  • The Yoshi's Island stage theme uses a different mix that lacks the bongos of the final version.

Early Character Select Screens

Ssbm earlycharselect2.jpg

The character select screen was different. The markers are white instead of colored like the player, the layout is different, Kirby's portrait is higher up, and there only seem to be 13 characters.

Ssbm earlycharselect1.jpg

This is a later version that only has 10 characters.

SSBM Pre Zelda Portrait.png

An earlier version of Zelda's portrait, seen in a debugging video tape.

SSBM Pre Zelda Portrait Alt.png

Same as above, but with a different alternate costume.

Early Classic Mode

Ssbm earlyclassicmode.jpg

An early screenshot of Classic Mode. There is a space background, no path at the top of screen, and Mario and Fox are doing completely different poses. Fox also has his last name listed. While Super Smash Bros.' equivalent of Classic Mode, 1P Game, did include Fox's last name when facing him, the final version of Melee omits it.